Using Books to Help Children Understand This Important National Holiday
The Fourth of July is an exciting time of year. The celebration brings with it warm weather, parades, barbecues, and fireworks as we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to share with your child about why we celebrate every July. Sure, children know that the Fourth of July means American flags on display, parades, and fireworks. But do they really understand why we display the flag or why we celebrate? This Fourth of July, consider expanding your child’s knowledge about the Founding Fathers, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States. Several children’s books have been written to help children understand and appreciate this holiday and our nation’s complex, yet important, history.
July 4th themed picture books for younger readers (ages 5-10)
The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Country, by Mike Berenstain
Not only does this picture book, which features the beloved Berenstain Bears, explain that the Fourth of July is America’s birthday, but it also expresses thanks to God for our country and freedom. This book provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss the freedoms we enjoy in this country with your children, perhaps the most important being freedom of religion, which allows for children to attend Catholic schools such as Saint Cecelia’s.
Happy Birthday, America, by Mary Pope Osborne
This picture book captures the family spirit of the Fourth of July with the story of a family who participates in their town’s annual festivities. At the end of the story is an excerpt from the author explaining just why the Fourth of July is such an important American holiday. This book is a great resource for starting a conversation with younger readers about why we celebrate on the Fourth of July each year.
The Story of the Statue of Liberty, by Betsy & Giulio Maestro
This large picture book is filled with detailed information about one of America’s most iconic symbols – the Statue of Liberty. This book explains in a language accessible to young children how the Statue of Liberty came to be such a symbol, who created her, why she was given as a gift to America, and why she continues to be a celebrated symbol of America today. The final pages of the book show a beautifully illustrated Statue of Liberty showcased by fireworks during a Fourth of July celebration.
July 4th themed chapter books for older readers (ages 8-12)
The bestselling What Is (Who Is) series is comprised of chapter books with titles such as What Is the Declaration of Independence? Other titles include What Is the Statue of Liberty? and Who Was Thomas Jefferson? These chapter books are filled with information and illustrations regarding the formation and early years of our nation. They are a good read for older children who understand that the Fourth of July is America’s birthday and are ready to learn more detailed information about the people and events surrounding our nation’s birth.
How will you be sharing the story of our nation’s birthday with your children this year? Share your ideas in the comments section of our blog. We look forward to sharing your ideas with the St. Cecelia Community.
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, safe and blessed July 4th from all of us at St. Cecelia School.
St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School (SCS) offers an academically challenging and globally minded interdisciplinary education to children in PreK-3 through 8th grade.